BackStory with the American History Guys

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BackStory is a weekly one-hour public radio show that provides a national broadcast audience with an enjoyable and accessible way of engaging challenging themes in American history and how they connect with today. The show is hosted by renowned historians Peter Onuf, Ed Ayers, and Brian Balogh. BackStory’s signature sound and spirit of inquiry emanates from the hearts and minds of its genial hosts, whose unscripted brilliance reflects a warmth and rapport that comes from their longtime friendship.

Please confirm carriage of BackStory with the American History Guys by contacting Melissa LaCasse at 207.776.4926 or lacassemelissa@gmail.com.

Moving from current headlines to drill down into U.S. history, each surprising BackStory episode features lively interviews with a diverse roster of scholars, experts, and ordinary citizens from around the country; listener calls; host discussions; and produced pieces. Topics are as diverse as college sports, reenactments, sugar, memorials, domestic terrorism, birthing, homeownership, the post office, philanthropy, protests, privacy, marriage, revivalism, and childhood—all in the context of American history.

Since BackStory first began as a monthly show in 2008, episodes have been broadcast by more than 130 primary stations in 39 states, 29 in the top 50 markets by population. Podcasts have been downloaded 1.4 million times.

BackStory is produced by VFH Radio at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Major funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities with additional corporate, foundation, institutional, and individual support.

Please visit our station landing page for upcoming episodes, promotional photos, and other information.

 


Pieces

Caption: Pedro Pan girls, Florida City, Fla., 1962.  , Credit: Courtesy of Ileana Ortega Menéndez.
30-second promo for BackStory episode, "Little Feet: Children Starting Over in America," with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/d...

  • Added: Sep 30, 2014
  • Length: :00
Caption: Pedro Pan girls, Florida City, Fla., 1962.  , Credit: Courtesy of Ileana Ortega Menéndez.
30-second promo for BackStory episode, "Little Feet: Children Starting Over in America," with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/d...

  • Added: Sep 30, 2014
  • Length: :30
Caption: Academic Gowns, American Usage,” chromolithographic print by Julius Bien & Co., 1903.
Fall's here, and all across the country, college students are returning to campus - and so is BackStory. Last year, President Obama proposed sweepi...

Bought by KBRP Community Radio, WRIR, and WYAP


  • Added: Sep 26, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: “Academic Gowns, American Usage,” chromolithographic print by Julius Bien & Co., 1903.
Fall's here, and all across the country, college students are returning to campus - and so is BackStory. Last year, President Obama proposed sweepi...

  • Added: Sep 26, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: The police in Gary, Ind., 1908, Credit: Library of Congress
Brian Balogh speaks with former Senator Fred Harris about the commission convened by President Lyndon Johnson in the dark days of the 1967 Detroit ...

Bought by KVSC and PRX Remix


  • Added: Sep 24, 2014
  • Length: 10:24
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: The police in Gary, Ind., 1908, Credit: Library of Congress
Legal scholar Alasdair Roberts talks with Peter Onuf about the beginnings of municipal police departments in the U.S., which were organized not to ...

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Sep 24, 2014
  • Length: 07:40
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: The police in Gary, Ind., 1908, Credit: Library of Congress
Producer Nina Earnest explores how the professionalization of the Los Angeles Police Department -intended to free the police from municipal corrupt...

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Sep 24, 2014
  • Length: 10:46
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Academic Gowns, American Usage,” chromolithographic print by Julius Bien & Co., 1903.
30-second promo for BackStory episode, "Degrees of Freedom: Higher Education in America," with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/...

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Sep 23, 2014
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: The police in Gary, Ind., 1908, Credit: Library of Congress
For many Americans, the storyline that played out on August 9th in Ferguson, Mo. — when an unarmed black teenager was fatally shot by a white polic...

Bought by WXDU, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, KBRP Community Radio, WRIR, WEZU and more


  • Added: Sep 19, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 7
Caption: The police in Gary, Ind., 1908, Credit: Library of Congress
For many Americans, the storyline that played out on August 9th in Ferguson, Mo. — when an unarmed black teenager was fatally shot by a white polic...

  • Added: Sep 19, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: The police in Gary, Ind., 1908, Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for BackStory episode, "Serve and Protect? A History of the Police” with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

  • Added: Sep 16, 2014
  • Length: :30
Caption: The mountain pass, Sierra Nevada, Credit: Library of Congress
Writer Emma Marris and historian Paul Sutter join the Guys as they discuss the Wilderness Act of 1964, and how American ideas of wilderness and how...

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Sep 15, 2014
  • Length: 10:43
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: The mountain pass, Sierra Nevada, Credit: Library of Congress
Producer Jesse Dukes has the story of some five hundred families who were made to leave their homes in an area supposedly “pristine and free of hum...

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Sep 15, 2014
  • Length: 08:03
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: The mountain pass, Sierra Nevada, Credit: Library of Congress
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, BackStory heads into the wilderness, exploring Americans’ fascination with, and fear of, wi...

  • Added: Sep 12, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: The mountain pass, Sierra Nevada, Credit: Library of Congress
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, BackStory heads into the wilderness, exploring Americans’ fascination with, and fear of, wi...

Bought by KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, KBRP Community Radio, WRIR, WRGY, and WRPI


  • Added: Sep 12, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: The mountain pass, Sierra Nevada, Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for BackStory episode, "Untrammeled: Americans in the Wilderness” with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Sep 08, 2014
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Victory of the USS Constitution over the HMS Guerriere in the War of 1812, by Anton Otto Fischer, Credit: U.S. Navy - Naval Historical Center
Two hundred years ago this month, Francis Scott Key wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the War of 1812 raged around him. But few Americans know mu...

Bought by KPVL, KSRQ, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, KBRP Community Radio, WEZU and more


  • Added: Sep 05, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 7
Caption: Victory of the USS Constitution over the HMS Guerriere in the War of 1812, by Anton Otto Fischer, Credit: U.S. Navy - Naval Historical Center
Two hundred years ago this month, Francis Scott Key wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the War of 1812 raged around him. But few Americans know mu...

  • Added: Sep 05, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: The victory of the USS Constitution over the HMS Guerriere in the War of 1812 by Anton Otto, Credit: U.S. Navy - Naval Historical Center
30-second promo for BackStory episode, "The War of 1812: Which One Was That?” [rebroadcast] with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific tim...

Bought by WCAI / WNAN and 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Sep 03, 2014
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Strikers from the Ladies Tailors Union, 1910 , Credit: Library of Congress
In his 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10, and then signed an execu...

Bought by KREV-LP, KSRQ, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, KBRP Community Radio, WRIR and more


  • Added: Aug 29, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8